January 8, 2020
By Kentucky Equine Research Staff
Colic can strike at any time of the day, month, or year, but impaction colic occurs more frequently in winter. Decreased water intake usually carries the blame for these impactions, defined as a blockage in the large colon caused by any feedstuff undergoing digestion, though other management factors also contribute to the problem.
“Horses require approximately 5 to 15 gallons (20-55 liters) of water per day. Signs of inadequate water intake include production of dry, sparse feces and weight loss,” described Catherine Whitehouse, M.S., a nutrition advisor for Kentucky Equine Research.
Forage fermentation requires voluminous water, which is why the large colon and cecum are referred to as fermentation vats. Insufficient water intake forces the body to borrow water from the hindgut, which subsequently hinders the fermentation process and puts horses at risk for impactions...